Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT
The PBS Religion & Ethics Newsweekly program that was presented by PBS’s Kim Lawton on March 11, 2016, includes a segment on Pope Francis and a rare and insightful interview that Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, granted to PBS’s Lucky Severson, an Emmy award-winning correspondent and producer with more than 30 years of experience in broadcast journalism. Kim Lawton was sitting in for Bob Abernethy (d. May 2, 2021, aged 93) who conceived and produced “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly” and was its face for 20 years, after four decades as an NBC News correspondent.
Although the interview was aired in 2016, its contents are timeless. It is an interview that should be watched periodically because the entire program is very interesting and inspiring. It contains the Aga Khan’s insights into the state of the world at that time — and continues and has even worsened since then — and conveys the feelings of his Ismaili followers including the famed Ismaili duo brother singers Salim and Sulaiman Merchant as well as a young Ismaili girl. Professor Ali Asani of Harvard, who now sits as one of the Board members at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, contributes by providing a historical perspective on the challenges the Ismailis have faced in the past and continue to face today.
Please watch the program by clicking HERE or on the photo below. Following that you can read the transcript of the interview with the Aga Khan that was released by Religion & Ethics Newsweekly.
CLICK ON PHOTO TO WATCH INTERVIEW.
(Note: In the program, the interview begins at around the 13:30 minute mark)
Excerpts from transcript WITH LINK TO FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW
LUCKY SEVERSON: You are a spiritual leader, a businessman, treated like a head of state. I think you were just with the prime minister [of Canada] yesterday. Which of those hats are most important to you?
AGA KHAN: The institutional hat, which is the hat I inherited from my grandfather.
SEVERSON: As a spiritual leader?
AGA KHAN: As the imam of the Ismaili community, by far.
AGA KHAN: Islam says that we as Muslims have to leave the environment in a better condition than we found it, when we were born. In other words, Allah has entrusted to the human race the duty to improve, work with his creation. And that’s why the Aga Khan Trust for Culture is called a Trust, and that’s how the ethic of the faith comes into the way you work.
SEVERSON: His title means “Great King,” and his followers do treat him like royalty. In fact, they seem to adore him. Listen to 13-year-old peace activist Alyna Nanji.
ALYNA NANJI: He teaches us how to be respectful, he teaches us how to care, he teaches us moral values of kindness, and you know what? I think we can all learn a lot from him, because he is the one person that we can definitely say he walks the talk.
SEVERSON: Are you generally optimistic?
AGA KHAN: No, frankly. No. I would hope that we would see a greater tolerance and greater acceptance of the divisions in society, because I think we are seeing forms of polarization which are very, very unhealthy, indeed.
LINK TO FULL TRANSCRIPT OF AGA KHAN INTERVIEW SHOWN IN PROGRAM ABOVE
Date posted: January 15, 2023.
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